PHOENIX — As the holidays near, many people are echoing the "buy local" movement to support small, locally-owned businesses in their communities over some of the larger stores and online retailers.
One spot to find plenty of those small businesses is at the farmers market. There, we found SaludEats, a small business offering a healthier version of some of our favorite sweet treats.
Meet Soraya and Daniel Medina, the husband-and-wife duo behind the operation.
"SaludEats is actually an organic bakery. We don't use no GMOs (genetically modified foods), no preservatives. We make everything from scratch," Soraya told ABC15.
"We're just trying to bring something, a better quality baked good or party to the market," said Daniel.
They opened their business in New York City, but the high cost of living and the cost to run a business there was a challenge. So, they moved to Arizona in 2015.
"We do a lot of sweetbreads. So like banana breads, apple fritter bread, blueberry-oat bread. We do a lot of scones, different flavors. Blueberry, lemon, chocolate chip, just all kinds of, croissants, cinnamon rolls…and our famous Black Bean Brownie," said Daniel.
"It tastes like a brownie," said Soraya. The beans serve as the base of the brownie and replace the flour. "It's very cake-like. It's fluffy."
As a wholesale bakery, most of their customers are local coffee shops and restaurants around town, including Sip Coffee & Beer, King Coffee, Farm & Craft. They also have a booth at the Uptown Farmers Market, near Central Avenue and Bethany Home Road in Phoenix.
"In the beginning, our sales were high, and then all of a sudden it was declining," said Soraya.
During the pandemic, restaurants were forced to temporarily close their dining rooms or reduce capacities, and orders slowed. Passing out samples at the farmers market has also been put on hold, which is one way to let people try the product for buying it.
They also realized that while some people have tried their products before at those coffee shops and restaurants, they may not know that it came from SaludEats. So, they're also working on their branding and marketing.
You can follow their Instagram page, here.
A couple weeks ago, they received a sweet, yet unexpected, surprise from Diana Brandt, also known as @AZFoodie on Instagram -- a $1,000 cash tip.
Brandt has been using her following on social media to raise funds from the community and then giving those funds to local businesses in the form of tips. She was inspired after seeing a TikTok user do something similar in another state.
"It was emotional because it's been rough for us and it was nice that she did that for us. She actually gave us a little boost," said Soraya.
To learn more about SaludEats or to see their menu, visit https://saludeats.com.
Recommend a business for us to highlight: We're looking to feature Arizona small businesses and restaurants. Do you have a favorite that we need to know about? Tell us about that business. Email us at OpenInAZ@abc15.com.